Rainwater, Holt & Sexton | Injury Law Blog

How to Safely Drive in the Rain

by Mike Rainwater | March 7th, 2017

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are more than 950,000 car crashes every year due to wet pavement. In fact, the likelihood of an accident in the rain is greater than that of a crash in snow, sleet or ice. The National Highway Traffic Administration found that 46 percent of weather-related crashes are due to rainfall, while only 17 percent are due to snow or sleet. Reduce your chances of a rain-related accident by keeping these tips in mind.

Stay Alert

Stay alert and focused to what’s going on around you – it’s not just your vehicle you need to worry about. Adjust your thinking when conditions become less than ideal.

 Turn on headlights

It’s the law in all states to have your headlights on when visibility is low, and in many states, including Arkansas, headlights are required when windshield wipers are turned on.

 Slow Down

Tires lose traction when driving too fast because of the precipitation. Tires are meant to grip the road, and you lose about one-third of your traction in the rain. Because of this, the recommendation is to reduce your speed by one third when it’s wet and rainy.

 Beware of hydroplaning

This happens when your tires lose contact with the pavement because they’re riding on top of a layer of water. When you hydroplane, gently take your foot off the gas to transfer weight to the front tires and regain contact. Do not turn the wheel – continue to look and steer where you want to go.

 Don’t use cruise control

Don’t rely on technology during the rain. Wet weather can affect the systems’ sensors, and you’re safer using your own reactions to speed changes.

 Make sure your car is rain-ready

Tire tread is very important – tires with 2/32 of an inch of a tread are unsafe. Check your tire pressure, windshield wipers, headlights, taillights and brake lights, too.

If you’ve been involved in a weather-related car accident in Arkansas and want to discuss your situation with an experienced Little Rock truck accident lawyer, contact Rainwater, Holt & Sexton for a free consultation.

Workplace Accident? You Have a Right to Seek Damages

by Mike Rainwater | March 6th, 2017

On-the-job accidents are some of the most emotionally charged types of cases we handle. Why? Because you know the opposing party. After all, your employer and the employer’s insurance company is responsible for your workplace injuries. It’s their obligation to take care of you and your family after a workplace accident results in injuries. When they fail to do so, it is necessary to hold them accountable, even if it is emotionally difficult for you.

That’s where we come in. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton understand that bringing a claim against your employer can be difficult, but we also know that not doing so can put your family at serious financial risk. If you can’t work, you won’t get paid. It’s that simple. It’s completely within your rights as a worker to seek compensation for the injuries you’ve sustained. You will not get rich from workers compensation benefits. You will be doing all you can do to provide for your family until you can get back on your feet again. That’s the right thing to do.

Workers compensation is not a perfect system, but it what the law provides and requires in the event of a workplace injury. Workers compensation is a system developed to help workers, but it also helps employers. It helps workers by providing a system for paying injured workers without regard to fault.  On the other hand, it helps employers by limiting claims against employers and co-workers to a workers compensation claim.  An employee cannot sue his or her employer for negligently causing the employee’s on-the-job injury.  The employee can still sue a third party (someone other than the employer or a co-worker) for negligence that caused an on-the-job injury. Filing a workers compensation claim for an on-the-job injury is what the law requires, all the law permits, and the right thing to do for you, your family, and … your employer. 

If you’ve been injured on the job, call our experienced Arkansas workers’ compensation attorneys for a free consultation. We can help you through the process. We’ll review your case at no cost or obligation. We will work to get your family the compensation you’ll need to fully recover. You don’t want to go through this alone, and you don’t have to. Contact us today.

Are Texting While Driving Laws Working in Arkansas?

by Mike Rainwater | March 3rd, 2017

Since 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been leading the effort to stop texting and cell phone use while driving. According to statistics from distraction.gov, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in distracted driving crashes in 2014. Text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, making it the most alarming and dangerous form of distracted driving.

Since many texting-while-driving laws are relatively new, there is limited evidence to show if the laws are working, but one study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health examined the effects of texting bans in 48 states from 2000-2010.

The study found that states with primary enforcement laws, like Arkansas, which means law enforcement can pull a vehicle over for the suspicion that they are texting while driving, saw a 3 percent reduction in traffic fatalities.

In states with texting bans that affected young people only, there was an 11 percent reduction in deaths for that age group.

Arkansas Distracted Driving Laws

Distracted driving laws vary from state-to-state. In Arkansas, the following laws apply:

  • Handheld ban for drivers age 18-20 years old (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice (under 18) drivers (Secondary law)
  • Ban on texting for drivers of all ages (Primary law)

A primary law is one in which state troopers can pull over a driver if they see that they are distracted. A secondary law is one in which the driver must be stopped for a primary offense like speeding and not just using a cell phone.

If you live in Arkansas and have been injured in a distracted-driver accident, contact a Little Rock car accident lawyer for a free consultation.

5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident

by Mike Rainwater | February 28th, 2017

Car accidents are the most common type of personal injury, with the U.S. Census Bureau reporting about 10 million car accidents every year. It’s important to know what to do should you find yourself in the unfortunate-but-common situation of a car collision. Follow these five steps:

 1. Pull over and call 911

Pull to the side of the road and out of traffic, if there’s room, and put on your hazards. Even if there’s not real damage, it’s a good idea to call 911 – and especially is someone has been injured.

2. Exchange car insurance information

Approach the other driver and exchange your car insurance information. The insurance companies – yours and the other driver’s – will contact each other to determine who pays for the damages.

3. Take photos and gather witnesses

Take photos of the scene and damage, and get the contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident. Your insurance company and the police may choose to contact witnesses.

4. Get a police report

If a police officer doesn’t examine the scene and file an official report, the case will turn into your word against the other driver’s. In some states, you can file a police report up to 72 hours later, but naturally the details won’t be as accurate as an on-scene review.

5. Contact a car accident attorney

If you’re concerned that you will not be rewarded proper damages for your injuries, property damage, emotional distress and lost wages, discuss the accident with a car accident attorney. In Northwest Arkansas, the car accident attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton offer free consultations.

Spirit of Arkansas Winner – Women and Children First

by Richard Atkinson | February 22nd, 2017

Women and Children First has been working hard over the last 40 years to help women and children escape domestic violence in Central Arkansas. They work to empower the women and children to live independently and free from domestic violence. They are able to do this through sheltering them during crisis, and helping them through with legal advocacy, social advocacy, support services, education, and community outreach. In 2016 alone Women and Children First assisted 1,030 people with legal and support issues, housed 61 people, and helped 330 children caught up in abusive situations. The work that Women and Children First does in the community for victims of domestic violence is why Rainwater, Holt & Sexton is excited to present them this month’s Spirit of Arkansas Award.

Rainwater, Holt & Sexton is partnered with KATV Channel 7 to present the “Spirit of Arkansas Award.” The award is given to local charities doing exceptional work in the community. To be considered for the Spirit of Arkansas Award, a charity can apply here.

Fatigued Truck Drivers: A Recipe for Disaster

by Mike Rainwater | February 22nd, 2017

Plenty of folks in Arkansas drive big trucks, or are related to someone who does. And, at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton we value Arkansas truck drivers and the contributions they make to our communities. What we don’t appreciate are large trucking companies that put undue pressure on their drivers or push them to the point where they have to drive fatigued. Tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. and carry with it enough force to crush a car in less than a second. Put that kind of weight together with a pressured or fatigued driver, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Truck accident victims in Arkansas shouldn’t have to pay for the trucking company’s negligence. The Arkansas truck accident attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton work to hold these companies accountable for the harm they cause. For the victims, that means going after compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Financial compensation won’t erase the accident from happening, but it can help you move on without a financial burden.

If you or someone you love was injured in a truck accident, call us today for a free consultation. We’ll review your case at no cost or obligation, and do our best to get you the compensation you and your family deserve. We’re ready to help. Contact us today.

WHAT IS AN IMPAIRMENT RATING?

by Laura Beth York | February 20th, 2017

In Arkansas Workers’ Compensation cases, when an injured party gets released by their doctor at maximum medical improvement (i.e. as good as you are going to get), often times the doctor will assign an impairment rating. An impairment rating is a measure of the level of impairment, so the worker, employer, and insurance company can all understand the severity of the injury. In Arkansas doctors must use a book entitled The AMA Guide to Permanent Edition, 4th Edition, to calculate that rating. This book covers every body part that could be injured, including the skin, the spine, the upper extremities, the lower extremities, etc. When the doctor assigns the rating, that rating is valued at a dollar figure. There are mathematical formulas to calculate how much your impairment rating is worth.

Once an impairment rating is assigned, it is important to seek help from an attorney, who can properly calculate the rating and make sure that all the benefits have been paid. Additionally, depending upon the type of injury that was sustained, it may qualify an injured worker for additional benefits. A Rainwater, Holt & Sexton attorney can help to ensure that an injured worker receives all the money and medical benefits that the law allows.

How Do I Apply for Social Security Disability?

by Mike Rainwater | February 17th, 2017

If you have recently suffered an illness or injury that makes it impossible for you to work, you are likely eligible for Social Security disability benefits – but how do you apply? The application process can be daunting without the right guidance. Consider hiring a disability attorney to assist with your application. Statistics show that Social Security is more likely to approve an applicant who is represented by legal counsel, plus you’ll avoid much of the stress of navigating the ins and outs of the process.

Who is Eligible for Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability (SSD) is a program that gives monthly payments to people who have become disabled before retirement age and are not able to work. You are eligible if you cannot work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more, or result in death.

What Do I Need to Apply?

There is a lot of information that Social Security will need to review as part of your application. You should have the following details ready before applying. A disability lawyer will help to organize these details and build the strongest case for your disability claim.

Basic Information

  • Birth and citizenship information
  • Marriage/divorce documentation
  • Names and birth dates of children
  • S. military service details
  • Employer details for current year and prior two years
  • Direct deposit information
  • Education and training history

Details Related to Health Condition

  • Detailed medical history of the condition including names, addresses, phone numbers and dates of examinations and treatments
  • Name of medications, who prescribed them and why
  • Names and dates of medical tests and who sent for them
  • Date and details about when your condition began affecting your ability to work

 

Contact Rainwater, Holt & Sexton in you’re located in Northwest Arkansas and would like to discuss your situation with a Fayetteville disability lawyer. You have nothing to lose by consulting a disability attorney, but could have a lot to gain.

DO I HAVE TO PARTICIPATE IN VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION ?

by Laura Beth York | February 15th, 2017

Often times, when a person is injured at work, they end up with permanent restrictions that prevent the employee from going back to the job that he or she had at the time of the injury. This can be a very scary time for the employee and their family, because at first glance it looks like that income has been taken away.

There are options though if you find yourself or a family member in this situation. The workers’ compensation insurance carrier will usually offer vocational rehabilitation to that employee. Vocational Rehabilitation can mean different things: either help finding a job or being retrained to find another job within his or her restrictions.

But what if you don’t want to participate in vocational rehabilitation? Arkansas Code Annotated. § 11-9-505 tells us that if vocational rehabilitation is offered by the workers’ compensation insurance company, and injured worker refuses….he won’t receive wage loss benefits or vocational rehabilitation. Basically, the insurance carrier get to keep money that you may have otherwise been entitled to. That might not seem fair, but a Rainwater, Holt & Sexton attorney can help you navigate the issue of vocational rehabilitation and what would work best for you to maximize your workers’ compensation benefits.

Wrongful Death Claim? Protect Your Family’s Future

by Mike Rainwater | February 13th, 2017

We’ve all lost someone we love. In the best circumstances, we were given the opportunity to say goodbye and tell them what they’ve meant to us. But when that opportunity is taken from us due to someone else’s carelessness, it can leave us feeling broken, confused, and angry. If you’ve lost a loved one in that way, you know firsthand the unique mixture of loss and uncertainty that accompanies a wrongful death. You may be feeling as if there’s nowhere to turn for help, but there is.

At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we help surviving families of wrongful death victims in Arkansas get the justice they deserve. It’s not about getting revenge; it’s about reconciling your loss and the potential your loved one brought to your family. That includes loss of future income, companionship, and much more. No amount of compensation can bring your loved one home to you, but it can protect you and your family from undue financial troubles down the road.

If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, call our experienced Arkansas wrongful death attorneys today for a free consultation. We’re ready to hear your story and handle your case with the dignity and respect your loved one deserves. You’ve been through enough already. Let us help you take the first step in moving forward.

Click on the icons to learn more about the recognition we’ve received for our high-quality legal service.